The genius of the Seedbed Psalter is that, while it does come in a hard copy volume (shown at right), it is largely an online resource enabling the user to choose amongst a variety of texts and settings covering all 150 Psalms. Right on the front page we read the following:
19 Apr 2021
15 Apr 2021
The Vulgate appears to follow the LXX's skittishness in referring to God as Rock, but Augustine insists that Jerome translated his Latin Old Testament directly from the Hebrew. Nevertheless, Jerome's initial translation of the Psalms was from the LXX. Could there have been a Hebrew version of the Psalms now lost to us that formed the basis of both LXX and Vulgate versions? Might this Hebrew version have already shunned the rock metaphor? I won't venture a guess, as I am not especially competent to do so. But I will point out that my personal copy of the Latin Vulgate Bible has two columns for the Psalms: one for the traditional Clementine Vulgate and the other for a newer Latin translation authorized by Pope Pius XII in 1945, the latter of which recovers the rock metaphors for God. Oddly enough, Coverdale's translation does assert that "the Lord is my stony rock" in Psalm 18:1, but that is the single exception.
14 Apr 2021
13 Apr 2021
However, Watts was notorious for importing into his paraphrases things absent from the original texts. For the most part this consisted of his explicit mention of Jesus Christ as the fulfilment of the messianic Psalms. The most famous example of this is probably his paraphrase of Psalm 72: Jesus Shall Reign, Where'r the Sun. But a member of the Lovers of Metrical Psalmody Facebook group alerted us to another quirky paraphrase that brings out, not a messianic emphasis, but a nationalist one! Here is Watts' version of Psalm 67:
12 Apr 2021
6 Apr 2021
The Gospel Coalition has just published this article by an Irish biblical scholar named Davy Ellison: Seeing Christ in the Shape of the Psalms. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Luke 24 arguably contains the greatest Bible study ever. Jesus explains how the prophets spoke of him and how everything written about him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled (Luke 24:25–27, 44). (“Psalms” here most likely refers to Scripture’s poetry and wisdom literature). Nevertheless, the point is clear throughout Luke 24—in Jesus’s mind, the 150-part Psalter clearly testifies to him.
But we can be more specific about the Psalter. There is a growing consensus in Psalms scholarship that the Psalter has an intentional shape—that editors and compilers arranged the individual psalms in the order we have them for a particular purpose.
I want to give a glimpse of the Psalter’s five books, and in doing so show how the overall shape encourages its readers to hope for a new Davidic king. In doing so, it does exactly what Jesus says it did—it preaches him.
What does the Bible have to say? Well, obviously it makes no mention of a rosary, but it does contain the 150 Psalms, which constitute the prayer book of God's people. I strongly believe that the Psalms, along with other biblical canticles from both Old and New Testaments, must take precedence over other post-biblical hymns in our liturgies, as well as in our daily personal prayers.
30 Mar 2021
This concert was put on three years ago by Mission Timothée to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. Shortly thereafter it was posted here: Concert "Le psautier huguenot" par la Mission Timothée.
Here is a directory of the songs sung, including nine of the Genevan Psalms:
29 Mar 2021
The Septuagint was the first translation of what we call the Old Testament into a foreign language, in this case Greek. The Septuagint, often abbreviated to LXX, would have a massive influence among Jews in the Hellenistic world in the centuries before Christ and among Christians, beginning with the apostles themselves. When the New Testament quotes from the Old Testament, virtually all such quotations are from the LXX, which sometimes varies from our extant Hebrew texts.
27 Mar 2021
I recorded this last year and have just posted it on my YouTube channel: Third Mode Melody, by Thomas Tallis. The tune is from Archbishop Matthew Parker's Psalter of 1567 and was originally a setting for Psalm 2. This tune became the basis for Ralph Vaughan Williams' transcendently beautiful Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) and Fisher Tull's Sketches on a Tudor Psalm (1971). It is in the phrygian mode, one of the church modes, which means that on the white piano keys one would begin at E and end at E an octave higher without using the black keys. The melody is sometimes called the THIRD TUNE, because it was the third of nine in Parker's collection. It's also called THIRD MODE MELODY, because the phrygian mode is the third, if one begins with the ionian and dorian modes. I believe this simple tune is one of the most haunting pieces of music ever written.
In the Christian Reformed Church's grey Psalter Hymnal David J. Diephouse's versified text for Psalm 62 is set to this tune. In Cantus Christi the 1912 Psalter's text for Psalm 63 is set to this tune.
I am still learning and hope eventually to be able to produce more professional-looking and sounding videos. In particular, you will need to increase the volume a bit to hear this.
26 Mar 2021
Singing the “mean” psalms is thus part of the church’s mission. These psalms arouse a hunger and thirst for justice, as we take up the prayers of the destitute as our own. They expand the scope of our prayers. We may not be under threat, but these psalms keep before us the daily dangers of persecuted brothers and sisters. Imprecatory psalms ground us in the real world, counteracting our instinct for over-spiritualized, anodyne, Pollyannaish piety. They’re a form of church discipline, as we ask Jesus to uproot liars and predators from his field, the church.
In the course of the article, Leithart cites my friend Trevor Laurence, who has published my own writings at Cateclesia Forum, which just yesterday posted this: The Virtual Illusion: Social Media’s Uneasy Relationship with Real Community.
25 Mar 2021
The following performance of Genevan Psalm 150 uses the arrangement of Paschale de L'Estocart and my own English text, albeit an earlier form of the text before I revised the last two lines of the second stanza.
A lovely performance indeed. Unfortunately, the person who made the recording, Stephanie Martin, neglected to credit the author of the text. I contacted her several years ago and asked her to do so, but she obviously did not, not even on her YouTube channel. Perhaps the next step is to contact Warner Chappel Production Music, which published the recording.
23 Mar 2021
What is notable about this volume is a preface by the editor titled, "A Dissertation on Scripture Imprecations," undertaking to grapple with the darker texts in which the psalmist calls God's wrath down on his enemies. Williams takes a quite different approach to what I have written here: GOD AS JUDGE: PRAYING THE IMPRECATORY PSALMS. He believes that the imprecations in the Psalms are largely the work of faulty translators of the original Hebrew text, in which the imperative mood is routinely substituted for the future tense. The original authors were simply predicting what would happen to the wicked rather than wishing it upon them. I am no expert in Hebrew, but given that this was written nearly two and a half centuries ago and that no credible biblical scholars that I am aware of seem to have adopted this interpretation since then, we are probably justified in viewing this as an interesting example of someone struggling with texts that made him uncomfortable.
Not surprisingly, then, Williams used Watts' abbreviated and christological versification of Psalm 109, omitting the lengthy imprecations altogether and ending thus:
Their Malice rag'd without a Cause,
Yet with his dying Breath
He pray'd for Murd'rers on his Cross,
And blest his Foes in Death.
Let not his bright Example shine
In vain before our Eyes;
May we like him to Peace incline,
And love our Enemies.
16 Mar 2021
15 Mar 2021
We badly need a translation from Hungarian of what looks to have been a fantastic lecture: Dr. Vas Bence: Genfi zsoltárok - Kórus- és lantfeldolgozások a XVI. században. Translation: Dr. Bence Vas: Geneva Psalms - Choral and Lute arrangements in the 16th century. Even if you cannot understand Hungarian, you can still enjoy the performances of Psalms 6, 5, 143, 77, 40, and 80 for choir, vocal solo, and guitar.
12 Mar 2021
10 Mar 2021
9 Mar 2021
25 Feb 2021
24 Feb 2021
The Genevan Psalm tunes have sometimes been paired with other biblical texts. A particularly familiar such pairing, often sung during Advent, is Comfort, Comfort Ye My People, a versification of the first verses of Isaiah 40 set to the tune for Psalm 42. This is also sung by Nathan George and family and was posted in December of last year. This is one of those remote pandemic recordings with instrumentalists located in different parts of the world.